Soft Hair

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Soft Hair


“I think the record label sent out a ­fictional press thing, or at least they got it wrong,” he clari­fies after I ask about the ­five years the album has sat untouched. “We didn’t work on it for ­five years, but it has been sitting there for around seven years. We worked at it off and on for a couple of years. We were never really thinking of making a record at ­first, it was more of a soundtrack to a ­film idea we had.


“We had this record and signed it a long time ago with Domino, and it sat there. Sam and I hadn’t talked for about five years. Friends had been saying we should release it. and we finally got around to putting in the effort to.”


Seven years – it’s an astonishing number to wrap your head around as a practising musician; to have a completed testament to a creative time and place in your life, which has never had the chance to draw breath outside the studio. With that said, the geographic scale of the record is impressive on its own. From St. Anne’s and Nottingham, to above a mechanic in New Zealand, to a studio in Paris, to a cellar in Loughborough and various hotels throughout Europe, the odd snatches of space that are cobbled into Soft Hair is quite a thing. With so much stimulus at the time of recording, it makes you wonder if Mockasin and Eastgate were tempted to delve back into the mix and start updating.


“No, actually. I was happy with how they were,” he says. “I think both of us felt like we didn’t need to really touch anything. In fact, if it’s left long enough sometimes you forget that it’s you. It doesn’t feel like it’s you that’s there, so that’s nice. I just want it to be out there for people to enjoy, that’s all. I don’t have any worry or embarrassment. Having another person, there’s always someone else you can blame. So if somebody doesn’t like it, well, I can just say that was Sam’s bit [laughs].”


Having started their association in ‘frenemy’ fashion, Eastgate and Mockasin found an unexpected resonance in each other’s musical sensibilities. The proof of this is in the album itself – particularly on a track like ‘Alive Without Medicine’, which is possibly the record’s stand out – but also in the way the pair were able to balance their interests. When I ask Mockasin exactly what were the strengths, he believes they pulled from each other, he is momentarily silent, thinking hard on where that magic came from.


“There’s something with Sam…” He pauses. “I feel like we’re on the same wavelength,” he muses. “We get excited by the same things. We’ll get moved by the same sound or an idea. I know that sounds really vague, but I feel comfortable to come up with an idea and get him to take it somewhere. I don’t love song writing as such. I love coming up with ideas, and I love writing music, but coming up with a song, to me, sometimes feels like it’s just work. With Sam, if I feel tuned out or not sure, and the other one hears something that you don’t, it can lead to somewhere really good. We do work together really well, but now we also haven’t seen each other for a really long time, which is a shame. I think the Soft Hair record and working together influenced both of my last records. It’s a mix between Sam at the time and me at the time, seven or eight years ago.”


Although there are now many years between their collaboration, it is sheer circumstance that has kept them from picking up the Soft Hair mantle once again. A future release is not entirely impossible … but as Mockasin reminds us, let’s do one thing at a time. “There was a lot left over [from the album]. If we tried again, we’d want to start with something fresh, something different to our separate thing. We’ve been asked a lot if we’re going to do it live. And I’m not sure. I think we’re just going to wait and see. The record’s not even out yet,” he chuckles. “We should probably wait to see if anyone even likes it.”  


Soft Hair is out now via Domino Records.